Jack Nicholson walking through snowy maze in lobby card for the film 'The Shining', 1980. (Photo by Warner Brothers/Getty Images)

A-Ron’s Film Rewind Presents: The Shining – 40 Years Of RedRum

A-Ron’s Film Rewind Presents: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. A 40th anniversary celebration of Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining”. Based on horror master Stephen King’s 1977 novel, Kubrick’s film deviates from King’s novel and has been quoted by King as a “terrible adaptation”. Kubrick stuffed his version of “The Shining”, with so many iconic images, trying to pick just one could drive you to Jack Torrance levels of craziness. Kubrick’s beautiful masterclass camera work, Jack Nicholson’s unforgettable performance and Shelley Duvall’s convincing fear combine to make this one of cinema’s most iconic and deranged events. With one of the largest sets ever built at London’s Elstree Studios. Kubrick often butted heads with his actors, including Duvall who fell ill and had loss of hair from stress brought on set by Kubrick. He worked with a small crew, which allowed him to do many takes, sometimes to the exhaustion of the actors and staff. Kubrick utilized a new evolution in filmmaking, known as the Steadicam mount, giving the film an innovative, clean and immersive look. “The Shining” is a work of art that even 40 years later, continues to be broken down and will be explored for decades to come.

“Wendy? You have a big surprise coming to you. Go check out the Snow Cat and the radio and you’ll see what I mean. Go check it out!”

•PART 1: STANLEY KUBRICK

You got to hand it to Stanley Kubrick, who is from New York, was born in the Depression cusp year of 1928, was raised in the South Bronx, blew off Taft High School with a 67 percent average (graduating 414th in a class of 509), was a staff photographer for Look magazine at age 17, made documentaries for virtually no money, and has left behind a legacy to become one of the most influential filmmakers by the age of 30.

In 1964, Kubrick directed the Cold War satire “Dr. Strangelove”. It challenges us, provokes us, unsettles us while also making us laugh. After Strangelove, the canon was filled in. There was “The Killing” (easily one his top 5), from 1956, in which Kubrick reconfigured time to stage a racetrack heist. There was Kirk Douglas in “Spartacus”. One of the greatest sword and sandal epics, that in soma you films after it. And, of course, there was “2001: A Space Odyssey”, how could anyone have predicted the transformative experience of the greatest science fiction film of all time?

Kubrick directed the film “Barry Lyndon” in 1975, a highly visual period  piece that despite, its technical achievements, the film was not a box office success in the United States and was derided by critics for being too long and too slow. Kubrick, disappointed with the lack of success toward “Barry Lyndon”, Kubrick realized he needed to make a film that would be commercially viable as well as artistically fulfilling. 

“Wendy? Darling? Light, of my life. I’m not gonna hurt ya. You didn’t let me finish my sentence. I said, I’m not gonna hurt ya. I’m just going to bash your brains in”

•PART 2: A DOZEN FEET HIGH OF BOOKS

Author Stephen King was told that Kubrick was holed up in his English mansion and had ordered forklifts of books delivered to his study. Kubrick would read the first few pages of each book, if he didn’t approve he would sigh with a groan and Kubrick’s secretary would hear the sound of each book hitting the wall as it was flung into a reject pile. A pile of discarded books grew to a dozen feet high or more. Finally one day his secretary noticed it had been a while since she had heard the thud of another book hitting the pile. She walked in to check on her boss and found Kubrick deeply engrossed in one book.

The filmmaking master had found his new vehicle: a Stephen King horror story set in a haunted hotel, which is what we know as “The Shining”. Brian De Palma (“Scarface”) had a hit with the Stephen King adaptation of “Carrie”. At the time Stephen King was a hot commodity, as he had already scored two paperback best-sellers with his first two novels, “Carrie” and “Salem’s Lot”. Riding the momentum generated by those books, “The Shining” became King’s first hardcover bestseller and elevated him into the top ranks of both mainstream publishing and the horror genre, where he, of course, remains King (pun intended) after 44+ years later.

It was almost inevitable that “The Shining” would be made into a movie. To have the movie directed by Stanley Kubrick, one of the most visionary filmmakers of the 20th century and the man responsible for changing the sci-fi genre with “2001: A Space Odyssey”. The hype was real and many felt that he would do the same for horror cinema, as he did with sci-fi.

“Heeere’s Johnny!”

•PART 3: “BONES OF THE BOOK”

The roots of Stephen King’s “The Shining” were in an abandoned idea called “Darkshine”, in which a young boy with psychic powers finds himself in a psychically charged amusement park. King put the idea on the shelf, but it came back to him in 1974, when he and his wife, Tabitha, spent the night of October 30th in the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. The hotel, was built in 1909 and was known to be reputedly haunted. It was about to close for the season, so Stephen and his wife, were literally the only guests in the hotel.

Wandering the empty halls, getting a drink in the bar from a bartender named Grady, and waking from a dream in which his young son was chased down a hall by a fire hose. King had left the Stanley with, as he had said in the book “Stephen King: America’s Best-Loved Boogeyman”, to be the “bones of the book” fixed in his mind. His own struggle with alcoholism and his complicated feelings about being a young father with two kids also found their way into the novel’s tormented lead character, Jack Torrance.

King went to work on the book, to end up with the premise we are all so familiar with. A self-sabotaging writer whose literary ambitions have been waylaid by his alcoholism, Torrance is haunted by guilt over “accidentally” breaking his 5-year-old son Danny’s arm. Afraid that his wife, Wendy, is going to leave him, Torrance is running out of options to put food on the table and keep a roof over his family’s head. An old drinking buddy gets him a last-ditch interview for the winter caretaker job at the Overlook Hotel in Colorado, a position that will put the Torrances in the snowbound hotel for the entire season by themselves.

The Overlook has an unsavory history replete with murder, suicide, corruption, and depravity, and over the years the psychic residue of the evil perpetrated inside its walls has curdled into a sentient force that inhabits the hotel. When the Torrances arrive, Danny’s latent psychic powers in which hotel cook Hallorann, a psychic himself, calls “the shining”, charge up the Overlook like a battery. The hotel ultimately intends to absorb the little boy, even if it has to go through his father to do it.

“Come play with us, Danny”

PART 4: KING, KUBRICK & THE ALTERATIONS 

“I thought it was one of the most ingenious and exciting stories of the genre I had read,” Kubrick said for author David Konow’s book “Reel Terror: The Scary, Bloody, Gory, Hundred-Year History of Classic Horror Films”. Kubrick continued to say “It seemed to strike an extraordinary balance between the psychological and the supernatural in such a way as to lead you to think that the supernatural would eventually be explained by the psychological”. That, of course, was not the case in the book, but that tension would play a major role in the approach that Kubrick took to the material.

Although Stephen King had written a screenplay for “The Shining”, Kubrick was not interested in using the author’s adaptation. He decided instead to pen the script himself in collaboration with novelist Diane Johnson (“Le Divorce”, “Persian Nights”), outlining the scenes from the book that he wanted to keep in the movie, rearranging them as he saw fit and making changes to the characters and other aspects of the story.

Kubrick also kept King at arm’s length, only calling him a handful of times to ask him questions such as “The whole idea of a ghost is always optimistic, isn’t it?”, which is the way King interpreted it. Kubrick himself did not believe in the afterlife, which made it difficult for the director to wrap his head around the idea of spirits and hauntings.

Kubrick had made a number of changes to the story, revising the script even after shooting had started. Jack’s discovery of a scrapbook in the Overlook’s basement, which went into detail about its dark history, was deleted, although the scrapbook can be glimpsed in one shot. The novel’s topiary of hedge animals, the basis for two of the novel’s most frightening sequences, was jettisoned because Kubrick could not figure out a satisfactory way to create the animals visually. He substituted it for the now classic hedge maze instead.

The haunted Room 217 was changed to Room 237 at the request of the hotel where the film’s exterior shots were filmed, as management feared no one would book Room 217 again after seeing the film (the hotel, Oregon’s Timberline Lodge, did not have a Room 237). Hallorann (played in the movie by Scatman Crothers) survives in the novel after heading to the Overlook to rescue Wendy and Danny; he is slaughtered by Jack almost as soon as he enters the hotel in the film.

Most crucially, the ending was completely revamped. In the book, Wendy, Danny, and Hallorann escape, while Jack is driven insane and totally possessed by the hotel, perishes when the building’s untended boiler explodes. One of Kubrick’s early endings had Wendy and Danny still survive after Wendy is forced to kill a now-possessed Hallorann, while in another draft of the script, the entire Torrance family dies and become ghosts themselves, seen sitting in the hotel as the new caretaker arrives. Kubrick finally settled on the ambiguous ending in which Jack is left to freeze to death in the maze and appears in a 1921 photo taken in the hotel lobby, suggesting that he’s somehow always been part of the hotel’s malevolent heritage.

“Some places are like people: some shine and some don’t”

•PART 5: PREPARING & FILLING THE OVERLOOK WITH THE TORRANCE FAMILY

Kubrick’s two major casting choices proved controversial. He wanted Jack Nicholson from the start to play Jack Torrance, but it was said that the wild-eyed Nicholson portrayed Torrance as a man who already seemed unbalanced from the get-go, making his descent into madness less unexpected and tragic. Other actors considered at one point by the studio included Robert De Niro (who claims the film gave him nightmares for a month), Robin Williams and Harrison Ford, all of whom met with Stephen King’s disapproval. 

Hiring Shelley Duvall as Wendy, coupled with the script’s drastic revision of the character, transformed King’s blonde, attractive, highly intelligent, and self-reliant heroine into the stringy-haired and generally vapid Wendy of the movie. More than 5,000 boys were auditioned over a six-month period before Danny Lloyd was selected to play Danny Torrance.

Originally scheduled to shoot for four and a half months with a budget of $13 million, the production stretched to 11 months while some $5 million was added to the total cost. Much of that was due to Kubrick’s perfectionism, which drove him to sometimes demand scores of takes on a single scene, pushing his cast and crew to the point of exhaustion. Duvall, in particular (more on that in a bit). 

“Little Pigs, little pigs, let me come in. Not by the hair on your chinny- chin chin? Then I’ll huff… and I’ll Puff.. and I’ll blow your house in”

•PART 6: THE INTERIORS OF THE OVERLOOK

Kubrick had sets constructed on soundstages at EMI Elstree Studios in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, England. Some of the interior designs of the Overlook Hotel set were based on those of the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park. To enable him to shoot the scenes in chronological order, he used several stages at EMI Elstree Studios in order to make all sets available during the complete duration of production. The set for the Overlook Hotel was at the time the largest ever built at Elstree, including a life size re-creation of the exterior of the hotel. In February 1979, the set at Elstree was badly damaged in a fire, causing a delay in the production.

“Redrum! Redrum! Redrum!”

•PART 7: THE EXTERIOR OF THE OVERLOOK

While most of the interior shots, and even some of the Overlook exterior shots, were shot on studio sets, a few exterior shots were shot on location by a second-unit crew headed by Jan Harlan. Saint Mary Lake and Wild Goose Island in Glacier National Park, Montana was the filming location for the aerial shots of the opening scenes, with the Volkswagen Beetle. The Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood in Oregon was filmed for a few of the establishing shots of the fictional Overlook Hotel; absent in these shots is the hedge maze, something the Timberline Lodge does not have.

Outtakes of the opening panorama shots were later used by Ridley Scott for the closing moments of the original cut of 1982’s “Blade Runner”. 

“Stop swingin’ the bat. Put the bat down, Wendy. Wendy? Give me the bat…”

•PART 8: PHOTOGRAPHY 

“The Shining” had a prolonged and arduous production period, often with very long workdays. Principal photography took over a year to complete, due to Kubrick’s highly methodical nature. Actress Shelley Duvall did not get along with Kubrick, frequently arguing with him on set about lines in the script, her acting techniques and numerous other things. Duvall eventually became so overwhelmed by the stress of her role that she became physically ill for months. At one point, she was under so much stress that her hair began to fall out. 

The shooting script was being changed constantly, sometimes several times a day, adding more stress. Nicholson eventually became so frustrated with the ever-changing script that he would throw away the copies that the production team had given him to memorize, knowing that it was going to change anyway. He learned most of his lines just minutes before filming them. Nicholson was living in London with his then-girlfriend actress Anjelica Huston and her younger sister, Allegra, who testified to his long shooting days.

Actor Joe Turkel (played bartender Lloyd), stated in a 2014 interview that they rehearsed the “bar scene” for six weeks, and that the shoot day lasted from 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., with Turkel recollecting that his clothes were soaked in perspiration by the end of the day’s shoot.

For the final Gold Room sequence, Kubrick instructed the extras (by a megaphone) not to talk, “but to mime conversations to each other. Kubrick knew from years of scrutinizing thousands of films that extras could often mime their business by nodding and using large gestures that look fake. He told them to act naturally to give the scene a chilling sense of time-tripping realism as Jack walks from the seventies into the roaring twenties”.

For the door that Jack chops through, in probably the films most iconic scene with the axe. Kubrick had originally shot this scene with a fake door, but Nicholson, who had worked as a volunteer fire marshal and a firefighter in the California Air National Guard, tore through it too quickly. Jack’s line, “Heeeere’s Johnny!”, is taken from Ed McMahon’s introduction to “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson”, and was improvised by Nicholson. Kubrick, who had lived in England for some time, was unaware of the significance of the line, and nearly used a different take. Carson later used the Nicholson clip to open his 1980 anniversary show on NBC.

During production, Kubrick screened David Lynch’s 1977 film “Eraserhead” to the cast and crew, to convey the mood he wanted to achieve for the film.

“I just wanna go back to my room”

•PART 9: THE EVOLUTION OF THE STEADICAM

“The Shining” was among the first of a half-dozen films, after the films: “Bound for Glory”, “Marathon Man”, and “Rocky”, all released in 1976, to use the newly developed Steadicam. The cam was a stabilizing mount for a motion picture camera, which mechanically separates the operator’s movement from the camera’s, allowing smooth tracking shots while the operator is moving over an uneven surface. 

It essentially combines the stabilized steady footage of a regular mount with the fluidity and flexibility of a handheld camera. The inventor of the Steadicam, Garrett Brown, was heavily involved with the production of “The Shining”. Brown has described his excitement taking his first tour of the sets, which offered “further possibilities for the Steadicam”. 

This tour convinced Brown to become personally involved with the production. Kubrick was not “just talking of stunt shots and staircases”. Rather he would use the Steadicam “as it was intended to be used, as a tool which can help get the lens where it’s wanted in space and time without the classic limitations of the dolly and crane”. Brown used an 18 mm Cooke lens that allowed the Steadicam to pass within an inch of walls and door frames. Brown published an article in American Cinematographer magazine about his experience, and contributed to the audio commentary on the 2007 DVD release.

Kubrick personally aided in modifying the Steadicam’s video transmission technology. Brown states his own abilities to operate the Steadicam were refined by working on Kubrick’s film. For this film, Brown developed a two-handed technique, which enabled him to maintain the camera at one height while panning and tilting the camera. In addition to tracking shots from behind, the Steadicam enabled shooting in constricted rooms without flying out walls, or backing the camera into doors.

Brown noted that: “One of the most talked-about shots in the picture is the eerie tracking sequence which follows Danny as he pedals at high speed through corridor after corridor on his plastic Big Wheel tricycle. The soundtrack explodes with noise when the wheel is on wooden flooring and is abruptly silent as it crosses over carpet. We needed to have the lens just a few inches from the floor and to travel rapidly just behind or ahead of the bike”.

This required the Steadicam to be on a special mount resembling a wheelchair, in which the operator sat while pulling a platform with the sound man. The weight of the rig and its occupants proved to be too much for the original tires, resulting in a blowout one day that almost caused a serious crash. Solid tires were then mounted on the rig. Kubrick also had a highly accurate speedometer mounted on the rig so as to duplicate the exact tempo of a given shot so that Brown could perform successive identical takes. Brown also discusses how the scenes in the hedge maze were shot with a Steadicam.

“Wendy, listen. Let me out of here and I’ll forget the whole damn thing! It’ll be just like nothing ever happened. Wendy, baby, I think you hurt my head real bad. I’m dizzy, I need a doctor. Honey, don’t leave me here”

•PART 10: PRINT MARKETING 

Various theatrical posters were used during the original 1980–1981 international release cycle, but in the U.S., where the film first opened, the primary poster and newspaper advert was designed by noted Hollywood graphic designer Saul Bass. Kubrick and Bass reportedly went through over 300 potential designs before settling on the final design of an unsettling, angry-looking, underlit, pointillistic doll-like face (which does not appear in the film) peering through the letters “The”, with “SHiNiNG” below, in smaller letters. At the top of the poster are the words “A masterpiece of modern horror”, with the credits and other information at the bottom. 

The correspondence between the two men during the design process, including Kubrick’s handwritten critiques on Bass’s different proposed designs. Bass originally intended the poster to be black on a red background, but Kubrick, to Bass’s dismay, chose to make the background yellow. In response, Bass commissioned a small, silkscreened print run of his original version, which also lacks the “masterpiece of modern horror” slogan, and has the credits in a compact white block at the bottom.

“Hi, Lloyd. Little slow tonight, isn’t it?”

•PART 11: STEPHEN KING RESPONDS TO THE FILM

Speaking about the theme of the film, Kubrick stated that “there’s something inherently wrong with the human personality. There’s an evil side to it. One of the things that horror stories can do is to show us the archetypes of the unconscious; we can see the dark side without having to confront it directly”. Stephen King has been quoted as saying that although Kubrick made a film with memorable imagery, it was a poor adaptation and that it is the only adaptation of his novels that he could “remember hating”. 

However, in King’s 1981 nonfiction book “Danse Macabre”, he listed Kubrick’s film among those he considered to have “contributed something of value to the horror genre” and mentioned it as one of his “personal favorites”. Before “The Shinning” was released, King often said he gave little attention to the film adaptations of his work. The novel, written while King was suffering from alcoholism, contains an autobiographical element. King expressed disappointment that some themes, such as the disintegration of family and the dangers of alcoholism, are less present in the film. 

King also viewed the casting of Nicholson as a mistake, arguing it would result in a rapid realization among audiences that Jack would go mad, due to Nicholson’s famous role as of McMurphy in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. King had suggested that a more “everyman” actor such as Jon Voight or Christopher Reeve, should play the role, so that Jack’s descent into madness would be more unnerving.

In an interview with the BBC, King also criticized Duvall’s performance, stating, “She’s basically just there to scream and be stupid, and that’s not the woman that I wrote about”. King once suggested that he disliked the film’s downplaying of the supernatural; King had envisioned Jack as a victim of the genuinely external forces haunting the hotel, whereas King felt Kubrick had viewed the haunting and its resulting malignancy as coming from within Jack himself.

The discrepancy between the two was almost the complete opposite: the Jack Torrance of the novel was corrupted by his own choices, particularly alcoholism and whereas in Kubrick’s adaptation the causes are actually more surreal and ambiguous.

King was also disappointed by Kubrick’s decision not to film at The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, which inspired the story (a decision Kubrick made since the hotel lacked sufficient snow and electricity). However, King finally supervised the 1997 three episode TV mini series version of “The Shining”. Starring Steven Weber of the hit NBC sitcom “Wings”, who plays Jack Torrance and Rebecca De Mornay playing Wendy. A veteran of directing Stephen King adaptations, Mick Garris (“The Stand”, “Sleepwalkers”) had directed the miniseries. The television adaptation, unlike the movie was filmed at The Stanley Hotel.

The animosity of King toward Kubrick’s adaptation has dulled over time. During an interview segment on the Bravo channel, King stated that the first time he watched Kubrick’s adaptation, he found it to be “dreadfully unsettling”. Nonetheless, writing in the afterword of his sequel book “Doctor Sleep”, King professed continued dissatisfaction with the Kubrick film. He said of it “of course there was Stanley Kubrick’s movie which many seem to remember, for reasons I have never quite understood, as one of the scariest films they have ever seen. If you have seen the movie but not read the novel, you should note that ‘Doctor Sleep’ follows the latter which is, in my opinion, the True History of the Torrance Family”. 

Following the production of the film adaptation of the 2019 sequel “Doctor Sleep”, in which Ewan McGregor starred as the grownup Danny. Director Mike Flanagan reconciled the differences between novel and film versions of “The Shining”. King was so satisfied with the result that he said, “Everything that I ever disliked about the Kubrick version of ‘The Shining’ is redeemed for me here”. 

“Come out; come out, where ever you are”

•PART 12: THE OVERLOOK IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS 

After an extensive post-production period, “The Shining” opened on May 23, 1980. Within a week of its opening, Kubrick omitted an epilogue in which Danny and Wendy are visited in the hospital by the Overlook’s manager, Ullman (Barry Nelson). Theater owners had to physically cut the scene from the final reel and send it back to Warner Bros.

The movie’s initial reviews were not good. The New York Times, Variety, New York magazine, the Village Voice, Newsday, and many others published negative reviews of the film, although Jack Kroll at Newsweek was one of the more favorable reviews, calling it “the first epic horror film”.

Even acclaimed critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert were not fans of the film. Ebert complained that “it was hard to connect with any of the characters”. Gene Siskel had given the film two stars out of four and called it “a crashing disappointment. The biggest surprise is that it contains virtually no thrills. Given Kubrick’s world-class reputation, one’s immediate reaction is that maybe he was after something other than thrills in the film. If so, it’s hard to figure out what”. 

In 2006, Roger Ebert, inducted the film into his Great Movies series, saying, “Stanley Kubrick’s cold and frightening ’The Shining’ challenges us to decide: Who is the reliable observer? Whose idea of events can we trust?… It is this elusive open-ended-ness that makes Kubrick’s film so strangely disturbing”. 

“The Shining” had a slow start at the box office, but gained momentum, eventually doing well commercially during the summer of 1980. “The Shining” gave Warner Bros studios, a profit and gave Kubrick one of his biggest grossing films. The film cost $19 million to make and it went on to earn $47 million worldwide. It was one the top 10 highest-grossing films of 1980.

It was the only one of Kubrick’s last nine films to receive no nominations at all from either the Oscars or Golden Globes, but was nominated for a pair of Razzie Awards, including Worst Director and Worst Actress (Duvall), in the first year that award was given.

“Wendy, I’m home”

•PART 13: FILM VERSIONS, EDITS & HARD MEDIA RELEASES 

After its premiere and into a week of the general run, with a running time of 146 minutes. Kubrick cut a scene at the end that took place in a hospital. The scene shows Wendy in a bed talking with Mr. Ullman who explains that Jack’s body could not be found; he then gives Danny a yellow tennis ball, presumably the same one that Jack was throwing around the hotel. This scene was subsequently physically cut out of prints by projectionists and sent back to the studio by order of Warner Bros., the film’s distributor. This cut the film’s running time to 144 minutes. 

For its release in Europe, Kubrick cut about 25 minutes from the film, slimming it down from 144 minutes to 119 minutes. The excised scenes included: a longer meeting between Jack and Watson at the hotel; Danny being attended by a doctor (Anne Jackson), including references to Tony and how Danny was once injured by Jack in a drunken rage; more footage of Hallorann’s attempts to get to the hotel during the snowstorm, including a sequence with a garage attendant (Tony Burton); extended dialogue scenes at the hotel; and a scene where Wendy discovers a group of skeletons in the hotel lobby during the climax. 

Jackson and Burton are credited in the European print, despite their scenes having been excised from the movie. Kubrick decided to cut some sequences because the film was “not very well received”, and also after Warner Brothers had complained about its ambiguity and length. 

The scene when Jack writes obsessively on the typewriter “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” was re-shot a number of times, but changing the language of the typed copy to Italian, French, Spanish, and German, in order to match the respective dubbed languages. 

In the Italian version, Nicholson was dubbed by voice actor Giancarlo Giannini. Kubrick sent Giannini a congratulations  letter for his excellent work on the role. Two alternative takes were used in a British television commercial.

The U.S. network television premiere of “The Shining” (on the ABC Friday Night Movie of May 6, 1983) started with a placard saying, “Tonight’s film deals with the supernatural, as a possessed man attempts to destroy his family”. With the movie’s ambiguities, it is not known how Kubrick felt about or if he agreed with this proclamation. The placard also said that the film was edited for television and warned about the content.

The U.S. DVD of the film is the longer (142 minute) edit of the film. The European DVD is the shorter (119 minute) version. In accordance with stipulations contained in Kubrick’s will, DVD releases show the film in open matte (with more picture content visible than in movie theaters).

DVDs in both regions contain a candid fly-on-the-wall 33-minute documentary made by Kubrick’s daughter Vivian (who was 17 when she filmed it) entitled “Making The Shining”, originally shown on British television in 1980. She also provided an audio commentary track about her documentary for its DVD release. It appears even on pre-2007 editions of The Shining on DVD, although most DVDs of Kubrick films before then were devoid of documentaries or audio commentaries. 

It has some candid interviews and very private moments caught on set, such as arguments with cast and director, moments of a no-nonsense Kubrick directing his actors, Scatman Crothers being overwhelmed with emotion during his interview, Shelley Duvall collapsing from exhaustion on the set, and Jack Nicholson enjoying playing up to the behind-the-scenes camera.

In May 2019, it was announced that the film would be released on Ultra HD Blu-ray in October. The release includes a 4K remaster using a 4K scan of the original 35mm negative. Filmmaker Steven Spielberg and Kubrick’s former personal assistant Leon Vitali closely assisted Warner Bros. in the mastering process. This is the same cut and 4K restoration that was screened at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. According to the official press release, the official full-length run-time is 146 minutes.

“I want you to like it here. I wish we could stay here forever…and ever…and ever”

•PART 14: THE LEGACY OF “THE SHINING”

While the critical opinion has since it’s release have become more favorable. It is now widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential horror films ever made and has become a staple of pop culture. In 2018, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

In 2001, the film was ranked 29th on AFI’s 100 Years…100 Thrills list and Jack Torrance was named the 25th greatest villain on the AFI’s 100 Years…100 Heroes and Villains list in 2003. In 2005, the quote “Here’s Johnny!” was ranked 68 on AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movie Quotes list. Total Film labeled it the 5th greatest horror film, and Bravo TV named one of the film’s scenes 6th on their list of the 100 Scariest Movie Moments. 

In addition, director Martin Scorsese placed it on his list of the 11 scariest horror films of all time. It was voted the 62nd greatest American film ever made in a 2015 poll conducted by BBC. Critics, scholars, and crew members (such as Kubrick’s producer Jan Harlan) have discussed the film’s enormous influence on popular culture.

“The Shining” is a perfect example of a filmmaker seeing something very different in the source material than what, either the author or many loyal readers saw. King’s book was a morality tale about the sins of the past is both Jack’s and the hotel’s, infecting the present via the supernatural, while Kubrick’s adaptation left the nature of the forces that are destroying the Torrance family much more ambiguous.

Kubrick’s film retains more of the plot than many remember, but deviates significantly in meaning and tone. It’s nevertheless a valid take on the material, and there’s no question that the sheer power of the director’s cinematic skills fashioned a film that is atmospheric, claustrophobic, and unnerving despite its lengthy runtime, nearly three hour runtime. While King’s much more faithful and preferred version of the 1997 miniseries is barely discussed today. while Kubrick’s movie is debated and screened frequently, its most memorable images ingrained in pop culture. It’s even the subject of conspiracy theories. 

“The Shining” was and is brilliant enough that Kubrick could create his own interpretation and deliver a horror masterpiece in its own right. There has been much speculation into the meanings and actions in the film because of it’s inconsistencies, ambiguities, symbolism, and differences from the book.

Kubrick’s spellbinding horror epic is one of the true masterpieces to come out of the genre. Kubrick’s use of space and the brilliant use of the steadicam have never been put to better use and helps deliver almost every scene in such an iconic way. “The Shining” does for the ‘horror’ genre what Kubrick’s “2001” did for science fiction. Kubrick intensifies it, making it feel theatrical but at the same time giving it depth.

Spearheaded by Jack Nicholson’s ferocity, his descent into unbridled insanity is simply unforgettable. Kubrick’s masterclass filmmaking, Nicholson’s mania and Shelley Duvall’s totally convincing fear combine to make this the most terrifying scene in one of cinema’s most terrifying movies.

Kubrick most definitely made an impressive horror film that not only contributed to the genre as a whole, it also left an indelible mark on many moviegoers to become one of cinema’s most iconic and deranged events. Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” is a work of art that even 40 years later, continues to be broken down and explored for decades to come.

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About Aron Medeiros

Aron Medeiros
Aron Medeiros is the movie critic for Maui Watch. He lives on the beautiful island of Maui and is also a member of the elite Hawaii Film Critics Society and an active cast member of the NerdWatch pod cast. He is a 2003 graduate from King Kekaulike High School. His favorite film of all time is “Back To The Future”. He has worked at Consolidated Kaahumanu Theaters for nearly 13 years as a Sales Associate and making his way up to Assistant Manager. He has loved movies since he was a young boy, where his Grandfather started his love for the movies.

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It’s a usual tradition for cinephiles to have a 31 day horror movie marathon every …